Infant and Mother Health in Arsenic Areas of Nepal
- Building the Nutrition Team (Feb. 18th)
- Workshops & Filter Distribution in Sano Kunwar, Nawalparai (March 4,6,9)
Before discussing the four Nawalparasi Workshops, I would like to mention the special people who donated materials or assisted in making the program successful in Nawalparasi. Our office moved the Terai a couple years ago, so the Hessad Café, a lovely Korean donut shop in Lalitpur, became our meeting point. Dr. Karuna Shakya, the Health Officer at UNICEF provided colorful Child Immunization Schedule posters for workshops in Nawalparasi and Bara districts. Bikash Lama, the Sales Executive at Associated Enterprises, dodged Kathmandu traffic to deliver the Hach Arsenic Test kit for the Bara program. My favorite tailor in Kupondol, painted and sewed the Nutrition game on his day off to facilitate our tight schedule. Clair Lin, the director and owner of Lovely Lady Pads taxied her way from Boudhanath to Hessad Café with 100 washable sanitation pads, patterns and other pad designs. The manager of the photo copy shop on Kupondol copied and bound the Infant and Mother Health Manuals and laminated cartoons and photos of vegetables, protein, fruit, infant health, safe water solutions, and good hygiene practices for the Nutrition Game. Gita and Sarita helped locate 100 soft wash cloths and the blue gift bags for the workshops. Gynu ordered 100 bars of soap and healthy snacks. Mini and Ramesh shopped with me at the Parasi market for vegetables, salt, fruit for the Nutrition workshop food gifts. Wendy Gillen provided WIC Infant Health Materials, Sumai Kurmi the Chief technician built 95 filters in record time and organized filter delivery to the villages. Dil Kumari, the Nutrition/Health/Hygiene Instructor who trained the Nutrition and Health assistants and led the workshops. Ramesh Aryl the Office Coordinator, brought all parts and people together.
The Nutrition & Health Team Training was held on Saturday Feb. 18th from 9 am to 5 pm. The Team Leader was Dil Kumari, a veteran Health/Nutrition Instructor in the Health Department at the local college, Pahli Multi Campus. She’s a wonderfully informed and engaging teacher, the other trainers were Dr. Smith and Ramesh Aryl. The 1-Day program covered; nutrition for infants and pregnant women, nutrition game, proper hygiene habits, immunization schedules, measuring infants, safe water options, social mapping, community mobilization, and arsenic awareness. Classes were held at the A. Kumari Academy in Swartikar and lunch was provided at the nearby FFF Nepal office. The Nawalparasi Nutrition Team Training included participants from 6 villages (Photo Set 2). Three of the seven participants are students and will assistant Ms. Kumari over the next 2 years in tracking growth patterns of the infants.
Sano Kunwar Nutrition/Health/Hygiene Workshop March 4th, 2017.
The day of the Sano Kunwar Nutrition Workshop, half the trainers peddled their bicycles to the meeting from their villages, Ramesh and Mina drove a motor bike and Dill Kumari and Linda brought all the workshop materials, vegetables, fruits, scales, and gift bags by a local electric rickshaw, the only taxi in Parasi. A welcome change from the old, small and unstable rickshaws of the past. The original plan was to share a meal with all the women and children after the workshop, but the logistics of such an event became too difficult with restless babies and the large number of additional family members attending the workshop. We decided to give all the vegetables and fruit to the women during the Nutrition Game and one orange to each mother/child after they were weighted and measured. As each woman signed in for the workshop, she was given a blue cloth bag with rehydration salts, jasmine/almond oil soap, soft baby wash cloth, Washable Lovely Lady Pad and a small spoon to feed the baby solids. At first only 13 women carrying their young babies walked into the room and sat cross legged on a plastic tarp. Within 15 minutes the room was overflowing with grandmothers, mothers, babies, children and other relatives. Ramesh introduced the program and trainers and then Dil Kumari began with the Nutrition segment. In the midst of her teaching a man with one leg and a crutch entered the room and showed Ramesh pictures of a group of handicap people who are helped by a local organization, quietly Ramesh ushered him out of the room – Dil Kumari didn’t miss a beat- her lecture continued. The women were very attentive, answering her short questions and agreeing with her comments. Mina taught the section about caring for the washable sanitary pads. Hira, one of the students, explained the immunizatons and their benefits listed in the large poster. Ramesh stepped in a few times to assist her when the babies became restless and over powered Hira’s soft voice. We passed out biscuits and milk tea to help quiet everyone. During the Nutrition Game, I left to help set up the scale and measuring center located outside near a large tree. The Team said the nutrition game was a success, everyone had fun and loved getting the vegetables and fruit. The crowd slowly gathered around the scale which was hanging from a large branch near the a large wooden table. Two students coordinated the weighting, Mina wrote down the numbers, Seema and Dil Kumari measured their length and I handed out the oranges as each woman and child finished. Since the group was twice as large as expected, we ran out of oranges. Luckily, there were extra eggplants and green peppers. At the end of a busy 4 hours the Team shared a cup of tea and discussed the workshop.
Arsenic Awareness Workshop March 6th
Another workshop was held 2 days later in the late afternoon (4pm). This was a shorter program to discuss the health effects of arsenic contaminated drinking water and the importance of using filter water for drinking and cooking (Photo Set 3).
Filter Training and Filter Distributions March 9th
43 Sono- mini Filters were brought from the FFF Nepal office to Sano Kunwar by a tractor with an attached bed lined with straw to protect them on route. Sumai Kurmi, instructed about 8 women at a time on the use and maintenance of the filter. They also received a strong warning that the filters will be checked in one year, if the filters are found unmaintained they will be re-gifted to another family.
Among the 60 plus infants and children measured, there may be two children who need to be closely followed over the next 2 years for potential developmental issues. They will be referred to the Health Clinic if there are health issues. To my surprise the washable sanitation pads were a great success, all the women were very interested in making more. The next meeting with the mothers and children will be in June.
Bara Workshops and Filter Distributions were completed March 17-23 - report will follow shortly
Sano Kunwar Nutrition Health
Sano Kunwar Arsenic Awareness & Filter Wks
Child Mother Photos